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Author Topic: Hive stand  (Read 928 times)
Steel Tiger
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« on: March 31, 2013, 01:03:56 PM »

I'm setting up two hives in a field behind my house. The hive stand I'm planning will be made of 2x4s sitting on cinder blocks. There is an underground steam that keeps the field damp. Because of this, I don't know if I should worry about it being too humid or if raising the stand would help. I figure that if I stack 2 cinder blocks and put the 2.4s on top of that, it'll give me 20 inches from the ground to the bottom of the hive.
Is that overkill or would single cinder blocks work giving a 12 inch space from the ground to the hive?
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rbinhood
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 01:28:24 PM »

It would not hurt to place a moisture barrier on the ground under your hives if the ground stays damp.  By using the barrier it will help cut down on moisture condensing in the hives.
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 04:46:24 PM »

One thing to remember with hive stands is the height.  Remember in summer when you have 4 or 5 boxes high, you have to lift those boogers off the hive over your head. 
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capt44
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 11:09:37 PM »

All of my hives I built the screened bottom boards from 2x4's.
I too put Cinder Blocks 2 high.
But I use a 4x4 sheet of Black Plastic I got from one of the Natural Gas Drilling sites when they moved out.
that plastic is almost 1/8 inch thick.
Anyhow I put down the plastic, cinder blocks, then the hives.
We have skunks around these parts and it helps.
I caught a wild turkey hen sitting next to one of my hives last year eating bees when they'd come out of the hive.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 01:18:31 PM »

I'm using a typical screened bottom board I bought from a supplier. I actually got my supplies back in November and they've been sitting in the shipping boxes waiting to be put together. It'll be another month before the bees arrive. The snow is finally melting and the field is extremely saturated right now. I took a ride down on the mower to check things out and water was flying up as if I was driving through a puddle.
 I think I'll end up laying down clear plastic and covering it with either wood chips or gravel.
 I'll also be using top entrances to try to avoid feeding critters the bees. I might go ahead and put up a chickenwire fence.
 The stand will be about 4 feet long, enough to fit two hives. The field is at a slight slope, so the front of the hive will be facing downslope, which is south. Since the ground stays damp, I'm looking for cheap levels to install right into the stand to keep track if it decides to start sinking and leaning.
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fshrgy99
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 03:02:46 PM »

Just an idea ....hang a piece of clear vinyl tubing in a "U" between front and back legs. Water level in the tubing will indicate true level at either end. 
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Moots
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 04:17:54 PM »

Just an idea ....hang a piece of clear vinyl tubing in a "U" between front and back legs. Water level in the tubing will indicate true level at either end. 

Works like a charm....Water seeks it's own level!

Learned this trick as a kid when I saw a crew leveling a house trailer.....Pretty darn cool!  Smiley
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 08:23:46 PM »

You could just set each hive on two cement blocks and do away with the wooden part of the hive stand.   I level up a short solid block on the ground and then stack a full size 8x16 on top of that.  I have slipped a piece of roofing felt in between the blocks to act as a barrier against wicking moisture up from the ground...the jury's still out on that.  As for the humidity level your hives will be in I don't know what to tell you other than be sure the hives are ventilated well so that moisture doesn't build up inside.  A moisture barrier would be good, but to install something to work with the amount of moisture that your describing I fear will be a pretty good project.  I would not put wood chips underneath the hives...they will act like a sponge even when the ground might be drying.  A sand and gravel mixture sounds good...a good amount of it might create a berm that is large enough to be above the native moisture holding ground and would drain easily.  Dig down a bit into the native soil, back fill, and pile more to create a mound for the hive stands.

I don't know if you're interested but since you have a little time before your bees get here you might want to look at this and see if you want to modify your boards to take an oil tray:  ISOT modification  Really simple mod if you only want to add an oil tray...a little tinkering and SHAZAM!!!!  grin  The angled pieces of wood are simple add-on's while the entryway slit surface is a bit more involved.  If you don't have much a problem with small hive beetles up your way it might not be worth the effort, though you could used the raised bottom rails to slip a piece of plywood or something else in for a winter bottom cover.

The tube with water will definitely work, but if you want something with more or less no maintenance required you could get some such as these on eBay.  Where would you mount them at?  I guess if you went with the wooden/cement block stand you could fasten them to the wood framework....?

Take care and have fun,
Ed
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 11:04:11 PM »

If you know where the under ground stream is, try to place your hive right over it. Supposedly it helps the bees. Don't know for sure but in the archives of this forum are several threads about it.
Jim
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RC
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 04:55:54 PM »

Like Allen F said, 2 blocks and 2x4s are going to make for some mighty tall hives with a few supers stacked on. 1 block high will probably be sufficient.
Are the hives going to be sitting directly above the blocks? If not, the 2x4s are going to sag, if the hives are suspended between the blocks on the 2x4s.
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 11:20:47 AM »

You could just set each hive on two cement blocks and do away with the wooden part of the hive stand.
It's going to hold 2 hives. The hives will be above the cinder blocks. The reason for a 2 hive stand is to stabilize it in case the blocks start sinking. I'll be able to see the hives at the bottom of the field from the house so should be able to notice any significant leaning well before the entire thing can tip.
The tube with water will definitely work, but if you want something with more or less no maintenance required you could get some such as these on eBay.
I saw a 10 pack of those on Amazon for $12, but not before I bought a couple small levels. I'll mount them right on the wood.
I would not put wood chips underneath the hives...they will act like a sponge even when the ground might be drying.  A sand and gravel mixture sounds good...a good amount of it might create a berm that is large enough to be above the native moisture holding ground and would drain easily.  Dig down a bit into the native soil, back fill, and pile more to create a mound for the hive stands.
I'm going to try putting nothing down. I'll try some different types of grass in the area and see if it'll help by sucking up the water. I'll keep an eye inside to make sure no moisture is building up. I have screened bottom boards and will have top entrances, so ventilation should be pretty good. If that fails, I may end up digging. About a foot or so under the soil is hard clay.
If you know where the under ground stream is, try to place your hive right over it. Supposedly it helps the bees. Don't know for sure but in the archives of this forum are several threads about it.
Jim
My neighbor, who's family owned the entire area when it was a farm, recently told me about the stream and that his brother buried it. Unfortunately, he doesn't remember where it came out of the ground at or I would have dug it up. There is a small stream at the very bottom of the field where the woods start. I'm assuming that when he buried the source in my yard, it just wicks through the soil to join the stream at the bottom.
Like Allen F said, 2 blocks and 2x4s are going to make for some mighty tall hives with a few supers stacked on. 1 block high will probably be sufficient.
Are the hives going to be sitting directly above the blocks? If not, the 2x4s are going to sag, if the hives are suspended between the blocks on the 2x4s.
I'm using all mediums and am not planning on going more than 5 high. After I get these two going, I'll be building long hives. I've been working on a design to not only have the frames running horizontal with the hive, but to be able to attach another box at the end so it can be continually build or excess removed as needed.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 11:45:28 AM »

ST, I think individual stands will be more stable than a single one.  Think about it...two cement blocks a foot or so apart from each other and a hive sitting on top of them.  Now consider two cement blocks spread out several feet from each other with two hives sitting on wooden supports suspended between them.  In the two-hive stand if one hive falls over the other one does, too.

5 mediums high in New Hampshire.  I would think you at least have three boxes dedicated to the brood nest...that leaves two for honey.  But, that may be just right...hard to know ahead of time....we hope for more honey supers. Smiley

Best wishes,
Ed
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American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 12:11:54 PM »

ST, I think individual stands will be more stable than a single one.  Think about it...two cement blocks a foot or so apart from each other and a hive sitting on top of them.  Now consider two cement blocks spread out several feet from each other with two hives sitting on wooden supports suspended between them.  In the two-hive stand if one hive falls over the other one does, too.
The hives will be supported with cinder blocks under them and a space between them.
 If I use 2 cinder blocks stacked, that's 16 inches...add the wood for another 4 inches...then 5 mediums at 7 inches each...gives me 55 inches or 4' 7" max height. I'm 5' 11" so it shouldn't be a huge problem. The only downside is that I can't lift much weight above my shoulders, so I'll have to use an empty medium and transfer the frames from the top box to be able to remove it for inspections. That's not something I'll have to worry about for a while though..I'm just trying to plan well ahead.
 Perhaps I'll just use 1 cinder block to start and see if any moisture builds up in the hive. If so, then just add the second.
5 mediums high in New Hampshire.  I would think you at least have three boxes dedicated to the brood nest...that leaves two for honey.  But, that may be just right...hard to know ahead of time....we hope for more honey supers.
I'm hoping for 3 boxes for the brood.  Guess I'll wait and see what the bees want to do.
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